The Spectrum is a finalist for five national college media awards

Former editors and paper recognized for stories and issues in various categories

The Spectrum

The Spectrum and three of its former editors are up for five national college media awards. 

One of The Spectrum's special issues from last semester and three former editors were among the finalists for the College Media Association's (CMA) Pinnacle Awards that look to honor the finest college media organizations and individual work. Former editor-in-chief Sara DiNatale was also named a finalist for the Reporter of the Year Award, which is a National Pacemaker Award given by the Associated Collegiate Press.

DiNatale was named a finalist in CMA's Pinnacle Awards for Best Investigative News category for her article “Facing the system,” which chronicled the hardships former UB student Daniel Lampke faced as a Level 2 sex offender and how New York State determines the levels of sex offenders.

“Being up for Reporter of the Year came as an incredible shock,” DiNatale said. “The stories that helped me get there, like ‘Facing the system,' wouldn't have been possible without the incredible support, encouragement and help from our adviser Jody Biehl and my family at The Spectrum.”

Former managing editor Owen O’Brien was named a finalist in the Best Sports Investigative Story category for his article “UB Athletics spends most money in the MAC.” O’Brien wrote the article after discovering UB’s athletic department spent more money than any other school in the Mid-American Conference, but not the most on coaches'' salaries.

“The coolest thing about these results is how it shows The Spectrum can compete with any college newspaper in the country across the board,” O’Brien said. “It's a tiny operation, but it goes to show that even without some of the resources of bigger universities, there is plenty of talent inside The Spectrum to compete with the best programs around.”

O’Brien said he and other Spectrum editors had tried for years to get the necessary information to write a story about how money is spent inside UB Athletics. He said he was just lucky enough to be able to dedicate the necessary amount of time and find the right inside and outside sources to tell the story.

“As journalists, it's our responsibility to chase these types of stories because UB is a public university and students, taxpayers and everyone else should be able to see this information for themselves and make an informed decision,” O’Brien said.

Emma Janicki, former Spectrum assistant managing editor, was named a finalist in the General News Category for her article, “Publishing textbooks can mean big money for professors.” Janicki wrote the article after discovering UB had yet to establish an official policy on the selling of textbooks by professors. Last spring the Faculty Senate Executive Committee proposed regulations on the issue, but the new rules couldn’t be passed because not enough faculty members showed up to the vote.

“It's great to see so many Spectrum editors names on that nominations list,” Janicki said. “Journalism isn't a one-person job – my article is the collective product of input from a handful of people.”

The Spectrum is also up for an award in the Best Special Section category for its Sex Issue, which was released in February.

“After that issue was wrongfully censored by our online publisher that posts our paper's PDFs, it's great to see it getting the recognition it deserves,” DiNatale said. “A college paper should be a safe forum for students to talk about sex.”

DiNatale said she is proud The Spectrum’s Sex Issue is up for best special section because the creative team last year, comprised of Jenna Bower and Kenneth Cruz, put a lot of work into the design.

“[We] created an incredible package for our clever and specialized content that intelligently covered topics such as fetishes, sexual health and threesomes,” DiNatale said.

A previous version of this article stated that the Reporter of the Year category was a Pinnacle Award. It is actually a Pacemaker Award. 

Ashley Inkumsah is a news editor and can be reached at